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01-10-2013, 02:19 PM
  #190
ContrarianGoaltender
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Basically, I didn't trust the numbers coming out of Florida, but TCG put some of that to rest with his "even if Luongo's poor puckhandling and possible overcounting in Florida are inflating his save percentages" post.

And I say "some of it," because yes, I do discount a goalie who plays well when there's no pressure versus one who plays well when under pressure. If Florida was never close to making the playoffs, it means Luongo never faced a do-or-die situation there. And in Vancouver, do-or-die situations have proven to be a weakness.
That's fair enough, as long as the discount is reasonable, because otherwise you're penalizing a guy for his circumstance to some degree.

But with respect to the point about Luongo and pressure, I'm not convinced that Luongo's problem is pressure. I think Luongo's problem is dealing with adversity. This is, after all, a guy who in his first ever playoff game made 72 saves in a 4OT win. He won and played well in his first playoff game, his first playoff game seven, and his first appearance in a best-on-best international (SF against the Czechs in '04 World Cup).

He was 31/32 in the game 7 against Chicago in 2011 and 34/36 in the 2010 Olympic gold medal final, two of the most high-pressure games a Canadian goalie has ever faced (although to be fair I thought he was protected pretty well by his team in both of them). Luongo's playoff overtime record is actually quite outstanding (9-7, with those 7 GA coming on 155 shots for a .955 save percentage), and he's also 4-0 in international OT games, counting the two just mentioned. If it wasn't for the fact that Luongo's reputation is mud in general among hockey fans, his last-second save against Slovakia would go down in Canadian international hockey history as one of the most clutch moments ever. Even off the ice, Luongo made it into the money in the World Series of Poker, a forum where shrinking violets generally don't have any success at all.

Yet at the same time, he occasionally turns into a sieve in blowouts. When the other team runs him they can take him off his game. When the Canucks were ravaged by injuries and things started turning against them down the stretch in 2007-08, Luongo couldn't bail them out. When Cory Schneider got the surprise start in game 6 against Chicago in 2011, Luongo skated around like he was confused and didn't look like he was preparing for a playoff game, and perhaps not surprisingly when he was forced into the game later ended up majorly fighting the puck before his team lost in OT on a weak rebound.

Perhaps this tells the story of Luongo as much as anything else, a breakdown of his save percentages by score in the 2011 playoffs:

Lead by 4+: 0/2, .000
Lead by 3: 18/19, .947
Lead by 2: 56/60, .933
Lead by 1: 154/164, .939
Game tied: 257/276, .931
Down by 1: 84/92, .913
Down by 2: 24/32, .750
Down by 3: 41/45, .911
Down by 4+: 16/21, .762

With the score tied, he's usually great. One goal goes in, and you start to worry. Two goals go in, and then sometimes so does everything else. It's certainly a strike against him, but if you're a great team (like, say, Team Canada) then you're usually just fine with Luongo in net.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Is your position that Luongo was better before the lockout than afterwards?
I think Luongo was at least as good in 2002-03 and 2003-04 as he was later in Vancouver, he just finally got the recognition because his team was in the playoff mix.

The other important thing with respect to comparing Lundqvist to Luongo when they were both in the league is that Luongo's injury in 2009 is widely considered to have had a considerable impact on his subsequent play, particularly his athleticism and lateral movement. After that his road save % numbers started nosediving, he had a down year overall in 2009-10, he started struggling a lot more in the playoffs, particularly against fast, skilled offensive teams like the Blackhawks and particularly on the penalty kill when he was left a bit more vulnerable, and he generally didn't look like the earlier version of himself.

I'd certainly take Lundqvist over Luongo since 2009. But tack on Luongo's earlier Florida years instead of his last three and I think it's pretty close, with probably a slight edge to Luongo, all things considered.

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